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UK expedition sector growing “significantly faster” than overseas markets

Galápagos Islands, HX
photo_camera Galápagos Islands are an increasingly sought-after expedition destination, according to ECN members

Around a quarter of Expedition Cruise Network (ECN) members report the UK market is growing significantly faster than other international markets, with more than two-thirds of members reporting a rise in bookings for the first half of 2024

According to ECN’s half yearly review, one member reported an 88 per cent increase in bookings year-on-year from December to beginning of June 2024. Meanwhile, another expedition line said bookings to Antarctica had seen a three-digit percentage growth in February 2024 compared to the same period last year.

The report also found a greater interest in longer trips and activity programmes that incorporated luxury and wellness experiences.

While Antarctica remained the most popular region for ECN members’ guests, other destinations, such as Iceland, Scotland, Indonesia/Melanesia, the Galápagos and ‘Fly the Drake’ itineraries, were growing in popularity.

Martin Johnson, chair and co-founder of Expedition Cruise Network, said: “To reflect the growth of the expedition cruise sector in the UK, we’re delighted to present the Expedition Cruise Network six-monthly review of 2024, which has seen two roadshows, a burgeoning programme of training webinars; the launch of two new training bootcamps; the launch of an Antarctica Selling Guide and the launch of the first dedicated expedition cruise conference to be held in October.

 “This has been an incredible six-months for the expedition cruise sector in the UK and we are keen to progress and support our members and the trade that sells the products in the most sustainable way possible.”

The ECN, which launched in April 2023, is made up of 23 expedition cruise line members, including AE Expeditions, Albatros Expeditions, Atlas Ocean Voyages, as well as more than 1,300 travel trade associates.

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